J-1 Waiver

Two-Year Residency Requirement

When you complete your J-1 Exchange Visitor Program, you may have to return to your home country or country of last residence for at least two years to share the knowledge, skills, and expertise you gained in your program. You will not be able to adjust your status to that of the H, L, and K nonimmigrant visas or to that of the lawful permanent residence status without fulfilling the two-year residency requirement. There are three categories of J-1 Visa programs that require two-year residency outside of the United States:

  • Government funded exchange program – Financed in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, by the U.S. government or the government of the exchange visitor’s nationality or last residence;
  • Graduate medical education or training – Entered the U.S. to receive graduate medical education or training; and
  • Specialized knowledge or skill: Skills List – Country of J Visa holder has identified the field of specialized knowledge or skill as necessary to their country’s development.

Two-Year Residency Waiver

There is a waiver that the J-1 Visa holder can apply for in order to overcome the two-year residency requirement. In order for a waiver to be approved, you will have to provide evidence that the following apply to you:

  • Possible persecution on account of your race, religion or political opinion;
  • Exceptional Hardship on your United States citizen or Lawful permanent resident spouse or child;
  • If you can obtain from your country a “no objection statement;”
  • If a United States agency initiates interest in you due to public interest and that the two-year residency requirement would be “clearly detrimental” to the governmental agency’s program or activity;
  • Foreign medical doctors who have a full-time offer to work at a health care facility in certain designated areas if they sign a three year employment contract.

Preparing a J Visa Waiver is complex requiring extensive supporting documentation. To increase the chances for approval of the waiver, the experienced immigration lawyers at the Law Office of Shane D. Scott will assist you with this process. For assistance with the J Visa, contact our office at (800) 230-0744 or sscott@shanescottlaw.com or Skype: shanescottlaw.

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